At the top of 2018, Top Dawg Entertainment announced its very first Championship Tour featuring the label's dope recording artists who'll grace stages across North America.
Unless you live under a rock, then you already know that TDE is the truth. With a roster that includes Kendrick Lamar, SZA, ScHoolboy Q, Isaiah Rashad, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Zacari, Lance Skiiwalker, and SiR; the label is still very young. But it's already grown into one of the most respected labels in the music industry today. Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith serves as the company's CEO, while Dave Free and Punch are the label's presidents -- and they always mean business.
We already know that K. Dot is real. We've also discovered this with Q, SZA, Rashad and Ab-Soul. However, do you know just how talented the other TDE artists are? Jay Rock, Zacari, Lance Skiiwalker, SiR are opening the Championship Tour. So, that brings us to an exciting surprise that we've been dying to share with you, the fans!
iHeartRadio went behind-the-scenes of the nationwide tour to give you guys an intimate look at how the artists prepare for their sets and more. Real 92.3 LA's Big Boy also spoke with the stars about the tour and their upcoming music.
"It feels good because it let's me know we came a long way. People don't know, man," Jay Rock told Big Boy when the radio personality asked him how he felt about performing on the Championship Tour. "We started off in a van with like 10 of us cooped up. Just going city to city, you know what I mean? And just sleeping in like one hotel. It's like all of us together in one room.
"And performing for like 100 people or like 50 people at a time," the rapper added. "From that to seeing crowds and a sea of people, man it's a blessing."
The Championship Tour kicked off on May 4 in Vancouver, Canada and it'll wrap up on June 16 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Without a doubt, it's one of the biggest tours of the year. That's why iHeartRadio was so excited to get to the performers' rehearsals and chop it up.
Jay Rock is a rapper who's been with TDE since day one and is make everyone understand that he's one to watch. The star's last album titled 90059 was released in September 2015. However, we recently learned that his brand new project will be arriving sometime this year. You've most likely already heard its fire lead single, "King's Dead," featuring Lamar, James Blake and Future. The single was produced by Mike WiLL Made-It and Teddy Walton. "King's Dead" was one of the standout songs on the Black Panther album, which K. Dot curated and executive produced, as well.
In the first few seconds of Lamar's "LOVE.," you hear a soft, angelic voice sing, "Give me a run for my money/ There is nobody, no one to outrun me." That voice, ladies and gentlemen, is Zacari's. He's a singer/songwriter who's been low-key making music magic within the TDE label. In fact, Zacari was the one who pitched "LOVE." to the DAMN. rapper, which made Lamar take the song for his own project. Zacari has also collaborated with other MCs like Ab-Soul and Isaiah Rashad.
Next up, we have Lance Skiiiwalker. Born Lance Howard in Chicago, Illinois, Skiiiwalker would sign to TDE years ago and release his debut album, Introverted Intuition, in Oct. 2016. He would later collaborate on a number of different songs with SchoolBoy Q, SZA, Jay Rock and Lamar. His music and overall sound is very different, but very cool and flavorful at the same time.
SiR is a rather new signee of TDE's. The singer/songwriter joined the powerhouse label just last year. But, don't get it twisted. His resume is litty. Born into a musical family in Inglewood, California, SiR would obtain a degree in recording arts. He would later engineer for Tyrese, while privately perfecting his songwriting skills. SiR has worked with and/or written for the likes of Anita Baker, Ginuwine, Stevie Wonder and Jill Scott, prior to joining TDE. SiR also previously released albums titled Seven Sundays and November, as well as mixtapes and EPs.
Photo: Getty Images, TDE and Instagram